Adilstone Answers – What questions should I have answered if I’m planning to move to another country? (Part II)
What are my visa options?
There is no universal answer to this question, but there are certain rules of thumb. For instance, if you plan to work changes are you will need some sort of visa or permit. If you plan to buy property or start a business, same thing. If you plan to do more than just vacation, you need to research visa options. You need to consider what you’re willing and able to deal with before making a move to any country. There will be a learning curve and immigration requirements often change frequently in some countries, but the more you set your mind to be prepared for the rollercoaster ride the less it will negatively impact your experience.
Can you afford an overseas move? What will I do for work or income?
It's amazing how little some people consider the expenses or how little they prepare for unplanned or emergency situations. How do finances work in the country you're moving to? How will you get money there, whether from income or bank transfers? What does it make sense to buy in the new country versus bring with you?
How will you build relationships and engage with the local community?
To build relationships in a new country, prioritize cultural sensitivity and proactive engagement. Learn the local language, even basic phrases, to foster better communication and show respect. Understand and respect cultural norms, attend local events, and participate in festivals for relaxed social interactions. Volunteer for local initiatives to connect with like-minded individuals, and join clubs or organizations aligned with your interests. Attend religious or spiritual gatherings if comfortable, be open and approachable, and utilize social media to explore community groups and events. Take the initiative to invite others to gatherings, ask questions, and actively listen to demonstrate genuine interest. Engage in language exchange programs and respect local etiquette. Attend networking events to expand your social circle, express gratitude for hospitality, and remain patient and persistent in building lasting connections. Active engagement contributes positively to cultural exchange.
Do you speak the language?
If you don’t, take the initiative to learn. If you find this task daunting and frustrating, really consider how that will impact your experience. When learning a new language in a different country, immerse yourself in the language by engaging with locals, attending cultural events, and exploring local traditions. Take formal language classes, use language learning apps, and practice daily to build consistency. Find a language exchange partner for mutual learning, and join meetup groups to practice in a social setting. Read local newspapers and books, use flashcards for vocabulary, and be patient, embracing mistakes as learning opportunities. Record your progress in a journal, utilize online resources, and stay open-minded to cultural nuances. Enjoy the process, celebrate achievements, and savor the rich cultural experience that comes with language learning abroad.
Do you understand the culture?
While in some places you can survive with minimal language proficiency on arrival, there is nothing stopping you from learning about your destination country’s cultural norms and practices. This can only enhance your own experience and more than likely will ease the transition for everyone.
What will I miss most when I'm gone?
Loneliness and isolation are serious threats to your ability to enjoy the experience of living in another country. One of the ways to combat this is to mentally prepare for what you may not have access to in the new country. While the world is more global, its not hard to become isolated in a new place with new people and all the learning that is typically involved. Think seriously about the things you feel you can’t live without and if you’re serious about moving, figure out how to recreate those elements in the new country and if it is worth the cost (money, time, resources, uncertainty, etc).
How often will you want to go back home?
This is a more practical approach, but you’ll want to factor this into your budgeting for a new country. How often will you want to visit your home country and how much will that cost for you and your family or whoever else will go with you. This may change depending on certain factors like how easy and affordable it is for you, or how long you plan to stay in another country. Maybe it is easier for your loved ones to visit you in the new country versus bringing your whole family home, or maybe it's an opportunity for you to travel to visit your family in your home country.
What is your level of personal readiness?
Assess your personal readiness for the move, including your emotional preparedness, willingness to adapt to a new culture, and your overall comfort with the idea of relocating. Take into account the needs and schedules of family members, including school terms, academic calendars, and family milestones. Consider the age of children and the impact of the move on their education and social lives.